Garmin-Chipotle's very existence relies on hard work. Its bosses, directors and riders epitomise an ethos focusing on grafting their place in a peloton fighting for credibility. Thanks to great performances in 2008, the team has become a model for a more credible sport where the words 'clean' and 'win' are mixed more easily, as Cyclingnews' Les Clarke discovers.
Jon Vaughters isn't a big guy, although punching above his weight is something that comes naturally. He rode for Roger Legeay's now-defunct Crédit Agricole outfit at a time when Americans were still quite a novelty in the European peloton. The Boulder, Colorado, native has become a pioneer in what some people are calling 'the way forward.'
Since retiring from riding in 2003, Vaughters has taken the TIAA-CREF development programme and transformed it into a squad capable of vying for overall honours at the Tour de France, as evidenced by Christian Vande Velde's fifth overall at this year's Tour. That was the culmination of a journey Vaughters embarked upon five years ago.
However, it was so much more than just a fantastic display throughout La Grande Boucle that made 2008 an incredible year for this former professional. There was the joy of an unexpected top-five in Paris-Roubaix, the synchronisation of the Giro d'Italia team time trial and consequent race lead, the dominance at the Tour of California and Tour de Georgia plus Vande Velde's win in the Tour of Missouri.
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